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Baby Safety Month: Including Oral Health

September 15, 2018

Knowledge is power when it comes to keeping your child safe. In an effort to help parents learn everything they need to know about child safety, health care providers, dentists, and childcare providers have declared the month of September to be Baby Safety Month and Dr. Maggie Davis will be taking part.

What is Baby Safety Month?

Baby Safety Month was created by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) as a way to help raise awareness about safety issues that affect children. During the month of September product manufacturers, retailers, doctors, dentists, and caregivers are encouraged to spread the word about the importance of baby safety.

Participants who have made the commitment to take part in Baby Safety Month will so everything they can to educate parents on important child safety issues. Participants can take part by holding community classes that discuss specific safety issues, passing out information sheets that provide safety tips, holding giveaways, or just making a conscious effort to focus on safety when talking with parents.

Oral Care Safety Tips That Will Keep Your Child Safe

Dr. Maggie Davis is taking part in Baby Safety Month by providing parents with a list of oral care safety tips. These safety tips can help parents improve their child’s oral health and keep them safe.

The following are oral care safety tips that every parent should know:

  • Clean your child’s gums after every feeding and before bed. Many parents believe that because their child doesn’t have teeth there is no need to brush. That is partly correct. You don’t need to brush, but you do need to wipe the gums down with a damp cloth or piece of gauze. This will remove any bacteria and food particles that have accumulated around your child’s gums.
  • Schedule an appointment for a dental checkup around your child’s first birthday. This appointment will not only be used to assess your child’s oral health, but it provides you with valuable information you will need to keep your child healthy and happy.
  • Make sure your child is using safe teething products. Don’t allow them to teeth on products that contain harmful chemicals or ones that have small pieces that could fall off.
  • Use toothpaste that is child-friendly. Child-friendly toothpaste tends to be fluoride-free. It is important to use fluoride-free toothpaste as children may swallow the toothpaste and you don’t want them to ingest too much fluoride.
  • Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. This will prevent any damage from occurring to your child’s teeth and gums.
  • Don’t keep a bottle with your child while they sleep. This is not only a potential choking hazard, but it can cause bacteria to grow and develop in your child’s mouth which will lead to tooth decay.
  • Avoid sharing things such as straws, cups, and utensils with your child. It is extremely easy to pass the bacteria in your mouth to your child when you share these items.
  • Try to avoid overexposure to fluoride.

Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Maggie Davis to Learn More

There is so much you can learn about keeping your child safe that it is difficult to include it all into one article. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Maggie Davis to learn more safety tips that will keep your child safe for many years to come.

During your first appointment with Dr. Maggie Davis, the focus is on assessing your child’s oral health and providing you with valuable information you need to keep your child safe and healthy. The appointment will start with Dr. Davis examining your child’s gums and teeth and looking for any potential problems. After the examination is complete, Dr. Davis will provide you with any treatment recommendations.

In addition to conducting an examination, Dr. Davis will be focused on teaching you what you need to know to properly care for your child’s oral health. She will discuss your child’s tooth development, what you can do to prevent future dental problems, and teach you how to properly care for your child’s teeth and gums. A worksheet filled with all this information will be provided so you can keep it handy and reference it as needed.

Interested in scheduling an appointment? Call our office. We look forward to seeing you and your child.

Get Back to School Clean Smiles!

August 9, 2018

With the new school year starting very soon, you’re probably doing everything possible to make sure your child is ready for a successful and happy year. While buying new clothes, choosing the right school supplies, and perusing school schedules are all important, so is your child’s oral health. To set your child up for success now and throughout their school year, this is the perfect time to do a little bit of smile prep. Here are three tips to help your child have a clean and healthy smile for the new year.

Arrange a Cleaning and Check-up

Dr. Davis recommends that her young patients come in for a cleaning and a check-up prior to the start of the school year. A routine cleaning allows your child to get rid of any plaque and tartar that may have accumulated, and it gives them a clean start on oral health for the new school year.

During the check-up, Dr. Davis can evaluate your child’s tooth and gum health. If there are any issues like cavities, they can be filled promptly to prevent the issue from worsening enough to require more complex treatment. If your child has signs of tooth decay or gum disease, Dr. Davis can recommend treatments like sealants or fluoride treatments. This type of treatment, when combined with careful dental care throughout the school year, can preserve health and prevent future problems.

Create Some Oral Health Care Goals For Your Child

During the school year, your child’s progress is measured by their teacher — and at home, you can create a progress chart to help them keep track of their oral health routine. Many children find it rewarding to have a progress chart that they can mark each time they brush. Aim to two checkmarks per day — one in the “morning” column and one in the “bedtime” column.

If your child can keep up a streak of a week, reward them with something they love. A new book, a small toy, or something else that keeps them motivated can work well — and many kids enjoy having a brushing chart just for the feeling of accomplishment that they derive from it.

Make Lunches and Snacks Healthy — But Still Fun

During the school year, your child can be particularly likely to binge on unhealthy foods because they’re away from your influence for longer. Fortunately, you can still have a hand in what your child eats even when you’re not there if you pack their lunch with healthy (but still interesting!) options.

Even when a food is healthy, kids are more likely to enjoy it if it’s packaged in a fun and unique way. Consider cut up veggies — but add an individual container of hummus dip for fun. Instead of a piece of fruit, make a mixed fruit salad or create mini fruit skewers. Instead of a plain old sandwich, make a “roll up” with a tortilla, meat, and cheese. You can make mini skewers of cheese cubes or pack the tiny pre-packaged cheese rounds for a fun and delicious treat. These ideas can also work as perfect after-school snacks — and they’re engaging enough to keep your child distracted from asking for potato chips, sugar, or other teeth-destroying options.

Looking For a Pediatric Dentist to Help Your Child Start the New School Year Out Right?

Dr. Maggie Davis is a Palm Harbor, Florida pediatric dentist who can help with all aspects of your child’s dental care. She’s here for back to school check-ups, dental emergencies, help with thumb or pacifier sucking, interceptive orthodontics, space maintenance, fillings, crowns, bonding, and much more. Dr. Davis delivers dental care with compassion and understanding, and she’s a favorite with kids of all ages. To ensure that your child is comfortable, Dr. Davis offers multiple sedation options for fillings or other dental work. Contact Dr. Davis to arrange your child’s back to school visit today!

Motivating Your Child to Brush All Summer

July 18, 2018

Summer is the time that your child looks forward to all year long — and now you might deal with the “but it’s summer” answer whenever you tell them to do something. While there are plenty of times that you can relax the usual rules during the summer — late bedtime, for example — teeth brushing is not one of those.  Many kids tend to fall into the summertime mentality when it comes to brushing their teeth, which can mean that it doesn’t get done nearly as well or as often as it does when school is in session. Because oral health is important at every time of year, you’ll need some clever ways to motivate your child to keep brushing all summer long. Here are three top tips that can help.

Get Some Cool New Brushing Gear

On the first day of official summer vacation, take your child to pick out some new brushing gear. Let them pick out a new brush, a new flavor of toothpaste, and a new bottle of mouthwash. Because this allows your child to put their own unique personality into it, they may be more likely to use the items. If the brush happens to be shocking orange or purple and the toothpaste is a crazy flavor that sounds just awful to you — well, that’s perfectly fine as long as your kid loves it. While you’re choosing new brushing gear, have your child pick out a toothbrush travel case if you plan any vacations this summer. This can be a subtle reminder that brushing can equal fun times.

Make Brushing Rewarding

It can be hard to stay on track with regular routines during the summer, so most kids can benefit from a special incentive. Make a simple chart that keeps track of their toothbrushing progress each day. For each day of the week, have two slots to check off: Morning and night. If your child brushes properly for two full minutes in the morning, they get a checkmark and the same thing before bed. After a perfect streak of one week, give them an award. This can be anything they like and value — gift cards tend to be popular with most kids! If your child extends their perfect brushing streak to a full month, they can earn another award. This can be a bigger gift card, a special privilege like a summer concert, or anything else that your child wants very badly. Even if having healthy teeth doesn’t quite motivate your child like it should, rewards will definitely do the trick.

Put Your Child in Control

One way to increase your child’s interest and motivation in brushing is to help them feel like they’re in control of the brushing themselves. While you’ll be monitoring, you might be able to do so a bit more loosely if your child has something to keep them on track. Consider using a special brushing time app on your smartphone. These apps can sing songs about brushing,  collect virtual monsters as awards, or customize a playlist of their favorite music — all for the recommended two-minute brushing intervals, of course. If you allow your child to launch the app and follow along on their own, they are more likely to feel engaged in the process — and this can help with motivation to keep doing this routine every day.

Summertime can be fun for kids but is often stressful for parents. If you use the toothbrushing tips above, you’ll have one less thing to worry about this summer. Need some help with the new summer brushing routine? Dr. Maggie Davis is here for you. Dr. Davis is a pediatric dentist who helps her young Palm Harbor, Florida patients achieve the best oral health every day.  Dr. Davis offers check-ups, extractions, cavity fillings, orthodontics, root canals, cosmetic dentistry, emergency dentistry, and many other services. Contact Dr. Davis today for an appointment!

Talking to Your Kids About Losing Baby Teeth

June 15, 2018

Many young children are apprehensive about losing their baby teeth — especially when it’s the first one. As a parent, you can ease that nervousness considerably if you just know the right things to say. Below, you’ll learn how to talk to your children about losing baby teeth, the right way.

Wait for the Right Time

It’s best not to overload your child with information about losing their teeth before they ask about it. Most kids will say something about it by the time they’re three or four years old — often, when they notice older kids with missing teeth they’ll be curious. Some kids might ask about losing teeth even earlier, sometimes as early as age two, especially if they have an older sibling that they’ve been watching closely.

When your child asks about losing teeth, always react in a positive way. Tell them that this is something that big boys and girls have to look forward to and that they’re becoming very grown up themselves. When they ask, they’re usually mature enough to have the conversation about losing their teeth.

Make it Magical

One great way to get your child fully on board — and even quite excited — about losing teeth is the tooth fairy. This tried and true tradition tends to capture the imagination of young children. If you want to really promote positivity in relation to losing teeth, consider buying a special tooth fairy pillow or bag to stow the lost teeth in. The “tooth fairy” can then leave a little gift (typically cash) in the pillow or bag — don’t forget to have some small denomination money on hand for these occasions!

Kids may enjoy the tooth fairy tradition so much that they actually look forward to losing their baby teeth — in fact, knowing that they get a reward for their teeth might make them more willing to help the teeth along by wiggling them or allowing them to be pulled out.

Ease Into the Idea of Pulling Teeth

When your child’s tooth is loose, don’t immediately suggest pulling it out — especially if it’s their first loose tooth. After all, even adults don’t enjoy tooth extractions, so they can seem really scary to young children who haven’t been through it before. Tell your child that when the tooth is loose that they can wiggle it back and forth (with freshly washed hands, of course.) If your child says it hurts to move their tooth, then tell them not to touch it any more right then. It will loosen further on its own until it’s ready to come out easily.

As your child grows older, they will likely grow more willing to have you pull the tooth out once it’s loose, but don’t push the issue because it might cause unnecessary stress. The teeth will come out sooner or later and there’s usually no need to hurry them along.

Prepare for Bleeding

While it’s unlikely that your child’s teeth will bleed dramatically after they fall out, a bit of blood is to be expected. Tell your child that they might notice a little bit of blood when the tooth comes out and that it’s completely normal and is nothing to be worried about.

Have fresh gauze on hand at all times. You can give your child squares of gauze to bite down on lightly to help control the bleeding if needed. This bleeding rarely lasts long at all, and with the distraction of the tooth fairy to look forward to your child is unlikely to dwell on the blood anyway.

Dr. Maggie Davis is a pediatric dentist who wants to help your kids grow up smiling. She offers dental exams, X-rays, fillings, restorations, bonding, sedation dentistry, and more. Dr. Davis treats young patients of all ages and is experienced in working with special needs patients as well. Contact Dr. Davis anytime to arrange a dental visit for your child.

Healthy Teeth, Healthy Body: How Practicing Good Oral Hygiene Can Help Prevent Your Child From Becoming Overweight

April 12, 2018

When parents work with their children to help them focus on good oral health habits, they can also help them avoid the poor eating habits that can lead to being overweight or obese. Because weight can be a delicate topic for people of any age, many parents find it difficult to discuss it with their kids. Parents may worry about hurt feelings or damaging their child’s self-esteem. If you feel this way, you’re not alone — but the good news is that there’s a whole different way to approach this discussion by focusing on oral health instead.

What We’ve Learned About Eating Behaviors and Oral Health

In a recent study out of Sweden, a group of preschool and elementary school aged children was evaluated. The children’s eating habits were monitored over an entire day, and their height and weight were recorded alongside this information. Interestingly, the study revealed that the children who ate more often — including high sugar content foods — also had an increased level of the damaging bacteria that cause cavities in their mouths. In another related sub-study, it was revealed that the children who eat healthy enjoyed improved mental health and better self-esteem.

Overall, the message is clear: If you emphasize the importance of good oral health with your child, you’ll also be helping them avoid becoming overweight or obese — and you never even have to mention weight this way!

How to Help Your Child Learn About Good Oral Hygiene — and Good Health

Regular visits with your child’s pediatric dentist are a crucial part of maintaining good oral health, but improved oral health can begin at home. Discuss food with your child by telling them about the damaging effects of sugar. Explain that sugar feeds upon bacteria in the mouth and then soon starts making acids that can cause cavities, gum disease, and even more serious health problems.

Simply replacing high sugar snacks with more natural options — for example switching out a candy bar for an apple — allows your child to protect their teeth better. Of course, it also happens that the natural snacks tend to be much lower in empty calories and saturated fats than their high sugar counterparts do, and this means that it’s easier to keep weight in check by eating this way.

Emphasize the food pyramid and discuss how to get all the food groups in every day as a way to help protect the teeth. Your child might even view this as a fun challenge and may be excited to help you plan menus. When your child understands that there are great tasting and healthy choices from all categories — dairy, grains, veggies, fruits, and proteins — they’ll be much more likely to be positive about eating healthy.

What to Avoid

The way to control your child’s weight is not to prevent them from eating. In fact, studies show that kids who had parents that prevented them from eating tended to be overweight just a few years later. By helping your child make better choices — and explaining why those choices are better — they’ll grow up gravitating towards more natural foods, less high fat and high sugar foods, and an overall healthier approach to eating. Framing the eating changes as a positive change for oral health means that your child is much more likely to accept the dietary changes as necessary and important.

Next time you visit the pediatric dentist, make sure to mention the dietary changes that you and your child have made together. Some positive reinforcement from your child’s dentist can really help them stay motivated about eating healthy to achieve strong and beautiful teeth as they grow.

Make an Appointment With Dr. Davis

Dr. Maggie Davis is a pediatric dentist who provides care for patients from all over the Palm Harbor, Florida area. She offers support for parents and children starting from their very first dental appointment and lasting all the way through the teenage years. Dr. Davis offers general dentistry, preventative care, cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, dental fillings, root canals, and any other oral care that your child might need. Contact the office anytime to arrange a visit with Dr. Davis!

The Importance of Pediatric Dentistry for Special Needs Children

March 5, 2018

Every child needs routine dental care, but children with special needs have a higher risk of gum disease, oral trauma, and tooth decay. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, special health care needs includes any type of emotional, sensory, physical, behavioral, mental, cognitive, or developmental limiting condition or impairment that requires specialized services, medical management, and/or healthcare intervention. Whether your child has a condition that is developmental, congenital, or a result of a disease, great dental care is crucial to your child’s overall health.

Oral Health Challenges for Children with Special Needs

Many children who have special needs have a lot of sensitivity around their oral cavity. Working with a great pediatric dentist can often help parents get through oral structure changes and feeding problems, preparing parents and children for the developmental changes coming in the future. Other children with special needs often have a tough time opening their mouth completely due to problems with jaw development. This may make it difficult for them to floss and brush regularly, making them more likely to develop gum disease and cavities. Children who deal with sensory challenges are often averse to the sensation and texture of a toothbrush and toothpaste in their mouth. Others have a very limited diet that’s high in sugars, which may result in cavities and other problems with oral development.

Because of these challenges, it’s so important for parents to find a pediatric dentist that is skilled in working with children with special needs. A great pediatric dentist will become a therapeutic partner, so finding a dentist that listens and offers helpful resources is important to the long-term health of children with special needs challenges. Luckily for parents in Palm Harbor, Dr. Maggie Davis is experienced in working with children with special needs and can’t wait to meet your lovely child. 

Helping Special Needs Children Acclimate to the Dentist

Any child may have a difficult time acclimating to the dentist at first, and this can be even more of a problem for special needs children. Working with a pediatric dentist enables your family to create a program that caters to your child’s specific emotional, mental, and physical needs to acclimate them to the experience of visiting the dental office.

In many cases, it’s helpful to start out with a special playtime visit for your children so they can come in to the office and get used to the atmosphere. Our office offers a playroom with toys, magazines, and books and is very helpful for children to become comfortable in the office setting. Kids and their families can stay and play and parents are welcome to try these playtime visits multiple times to work on getting kids comfortable.

Next, an actual room visit may be a great step. Kids can start playing and then transition into one of the office rooms. Consider asking Dr. Maggie’s office staff if it is OK to bring a special toy to make this transition a smooth one. You, your child, and your dentist can talk about oral health and how to take care of their teeth.

The next step may be to have your child come in again and experience sitting in one of the dental chairs. Dental assistants can explain different instruments in the room. If children are okay with it, then the visit can go on to have a short exam and a cleaning. However, a great pediatric dentist works to follow the child’s cues. If the appointment becomes more than your child can handle, we can stop and another visit can be scheduled.

Sedation Dentistry is an Option

For children with special needs that have sensory challenges or high anxiety, sedation dentistry, or sleep dentistry, can be an excellent option. It can offer the best experience for you and your child, ensuring that your child receives the dental care needed for optimal well-being and overall health. Talk to your pediatric dentist about sedation dentistry and whether it’s a good fit for your child.

Although visiting the dentist can come with special challenges, routine dental care is so essential for children with special needs. Your child has a higher risk of many oral health problems if he has special needs, and a pediatric dentist can work with you and your child to prevent these problems before they happen. We love seeing all children grow up with healthy smiles if you have questions or concerns about your child’s needs and the dental care they receive, call and talk to Dr. Maggie today!

Celebrating Children’s Dental Health Month

February 1, 2018

Celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month with us in February and schedule an appointment with Dr. Maggie to learn how to keep your child’s oral hygiene routine fun and healthy. The importance of good oral hygiene cannot be stated enough, especially when it comes to teaching children how to properly care for their teeth at every age. To help your child practice good oral hygiene, you can make brushing and flossing fun by involving the whole family and using toothbrushes that play music.

Start Good Oral Care Early

When you teach your child to properly care your their teeth by regularly brushing and flossing, you are helping them prevent cavities and gum disease. Children’s Dental Health Month was developed in order to emphasize the importance of oral care even if your child still has his or her baby teeth.

To help your children remember to brush and floss print out this Tooth Brushing Chart! Just add stickers!

While baby teeth are temporary and replaced by adult teeth, they serve a vital purpose in the mouth. They help your child eat and speak properly, and they guide the adult teeth into their proper positions. By teaching your child to care for his or her baby teeth by learning how to properly brush, floss and use mouthwash, you are helping develop good habits for when their adult teeth emerge.

Understanding Good Oral Hygiene for Children

During Children’s Dental Health Month, it is important to review your child’s oral hygiene habits and adjust according to your child’s age. If you have a new infant, it is important to clean his or her mouth and gums with a damp, soft washcloth. This will remove excess formula or milk from the gums and help prevent excess bacteria from forming in the mouth. When your child’s first few teeth appear, wiping your infant’s gums helps prevent baby bottle tooth decay, which can happen if excess formula is left in the mouth, especially at night.

Once several of your child’s teeth have emerged, it’s time to start using a soft bristled brush designed for infants and/or toddlers. There is still no need to use toothpaste at this point, but you can choose an oral censer that is designed for infants and toddlers instead of plain water if you wish. This is also the time when you should schedule your child’s first dental appointment.

When your child reaches two years of age, they are ready for children’s toothpaste and to start learning how to brush their own teeth. You can make this process more fun by creating a game around practicing good oral hygiene and/or by choosing fun toothbrushes that play music.

From the ages of two to seven, you will need to closely supervise your child’s oral hygiene habits until they have the hand dexterity and skill to reach every part of their teeth and gums. This may mean helping your child brush and floss his or her teeth after they have already brushed their teeth on their own. After the age of seven, your child should have the knowledge and skill to brush and floss his or her teeth at least twice a day.

How You Can Celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month with Us

You can help us celebrate Children’s Dental Health month by ensuring that your child receives regular dental checkups at our pediatric dental office in Palm Harbor and by reminding your friends and family with children to schedule appointments for their own children. Every child from the time they receive their first tooth until they turn 18 years years of age should receive at least one dental checkup and dental cleaning twice each year. These checkups remove all the plaque and tartar from your child’s teeth and look for problems with the development of the teeth, gums, and jaw so that they can be corrected before they interfere with your child’s speech and language development as well as his or her ability to chew. During your child’s appointment, we can also answer common dental care questions as well as any questions your older child may have about proper oral hygiene.

To schedule your child’s dental checkup in Palm Harbor with our pediatric dentist, call us at 727-786-7551.

Check out this Print-Friendly Tooth Brushing Chart to help your child celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month right!

Get your Child’s Year Started Off Right with Oral Health

January 3, 2018

With New Year just around the corner, it’s important to help your child make some resolutions that really stick. One of the best resolutions you can make for your child is better oral health. It’s also an easily achievable resolution, as long as you’re there to support your child’s journey to improved oral health. Here’s what you need to know to make that resolution into reality.

When to Schedule Visits With Dr. Maggie

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child’s first visit to the dentist is scheduled when his or her first tooth erupts. In the event that your child still doesn’t have their first tooth by 12 months of age, go ahead and schedule his or her first visit with Dr. Maggie at that time. Visits are typically scheduled every six months throughout childhood. Dr. Maggie can work with you to create a customized dental care schedule based on your child’s specific individual needs.

Making Good Oral Health Habits Fun

One of the big obstacles to creating good oral health habits in children is keeping their interest. However, if you use a few tips for making dental care more fun, it might just keep your child engaged long enough to make these new practices into long term habits. Here are a few tips that can peak your child’s interest while they improve his or her oral health.

One tip for making good oral health care habits is allowing them to choose their own brushing tools. Make choosing a new toothbrush into a fun event — whether your child wants a princess toothbrush or a musical one, it’s fine as long as it has soft bristles! Make sure that your child also selects the right size toothbrush. Dr. Maggie can recommend the right toothbrush size for your child’s current stage of development.

Allowing your child to select their own toothpaste can also be a good move in terms of keeping them interested in the oral health care process. There are plenty of fun flavors out there today — from vanilla to fruit flavor to bubblegum — that your child is likely to fall in love with. If your child is old enough to use mouthwash, they can pick out their own fun-flavored mouthwash as well.

Help Your Child Enforce Their New Routine — The Fun Way!

One smart way to get your child to actually adhere to their new oral health care routine is to help them feel like they’re in charge. Did you know that it’s recommended that you brush for two full minutes at a time, twice each day? Many people of all ages tend to skimp on the brushing time simply because they’re not keeping track.

Consider using a kitchen timer that your child can actually set themselves. They’ll not only enjoy turning the dial, but also the feeling that they’re really in charge of something. As your child grows older, you can replace the kitchen timer with an alarm on the phone, tablet, or other digital device. It might surprise you how diligent your child is about brushing for their full two minutes at a time when you bring this tip into the mix.

Looking For a Pediatric Dentist Who Really Cares?

Dr. Maggie Davis serves pediatric patients in the Palm Harbor, Florida area. She offers a full menu of pediatric dentistry services including regular check-ups, fillings, porcelain crowns, root canal therapy, consultations, emergency dentistry, digital imaging, bonding, cosmetic teeth whitening, counseling regarding thumb sucking or pacifier use, counseling regarding intraoral piercings, and supportive care for young patients who have special health concerns. To ensure optimal levels of patient comfort, Dr. Davis offers multiple sedation methods including nitrous oxide, IV sedation, and sedation via oral medication. The top priority for Dr. Maggie is always making sure that her young patients are comfortable — and that they have the tools they need to grow up with great oral health. Contact the office anytime to schedule an appointment with Dr. Davis!

Brushing your Baby’s Teeth: How to Start a Healthy Habit

November 10, 2017

Brushing your child’s teeth may be just another daunting task that is added to your daily parenting “to do” list, but it is more than just a daily task. It is the beginning of your child’s journey to establishing good oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.  

Establishing a good oral hygiene routine starts the day your child is born. It starts with daily wiping of the gums after feedings and extends all the way to brushing those first baby teeth buds that painfully start to erupt when your child is approximately four months. It eventually ends with full brushing of your child’s teeth until they are capable of proper brushing on their own.

We want to help you as you work to establish healthy habits for your child. To help you, we have created a complete guide that will walk you through everything you need to know about brushing your child’s teeth and creating healthy habits.

Healthy Habits Start the Day Your Child is Born

It is hard to imagine, but healthy oral habits start the day your child is born. Of course, you won’t be using a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash just yet, but you will be taking precautions to make sure your child’s gums are healthy.

The healthier your child’s gums are the better chance your child has of developing healthy, strong baby teeth. Keeping your child’s gums healthy is relatively easy. It just takes a little bit of water and some gauze or washcloth.

When caring and cleaning your baby’s gums, do the following things:

  • Use a very soft washcloth or section of gauze. A soft gauze or washcloth is needed so you do not irritate your child’s gums. Irritating your child’s gums can cause your child pain or bleeding gums.
  • Moisten the gauze or washcloth with a little bit of water. Do not over saturate the washcloth or gauze, just get it slightly damp.
  • Use the washcloth or gauze to wipe down your child’s gums
  • Wipe down your child’s gums after every feeding and right before bed. If you are unable to do this at least make sure you wipe your child’s gums at least twice a day.  

Wiping your child’s gums is important because it helps get rid of bacteria. Bacteria enter the mouth from formula and milk that your child consumes. If bacteria are not removed, it will stick to the gums and create plaque. That plaque can, and will, destroy baby teeth as they start to grow in.

Brushing Your Child’s Baby Teeth

Once your child’s baby teeth start growing, it is time to pull out the toothbrush. You may have to use a combination of washcloth/gauze and toothbrush for a while until all your child’s teeth grow in. However, the minute you see a baby tooth growing, it is time to use a toothbrush.

To brush your child’s baby teeth, do the following things:

  • Use only water for the first few teeth. Water should be until your child’s baby teeth fully erupt through the gums.
  • Use a child’s toothbrush that has a large handle, small bristle head, and soft bristles.
  • Use an appropriate amount of toothpaste for your child’s age. Children under the age of three should use toothpaste that is approximately the size of a grain of rice. After the age of three, increase the amount of toothpaste used and use approximately a pea-sized amount.
  • Brush your child’s teeth at least three times a day. Try to brush after every meal, but make sure you brush at least three times a day.
  • Brush all sides of your child’s teeth – front, back, and tops.
  • Gently brush your child’s teeth to prevent your child from experiencing pain or bleeding gums
  • Use a toothpaste that contains a small amount of fluoride in it
  • Supervise your child’s teeth brushing until they are six years old

While brushing your child’s teeth, look for any visible signs of tooth decay. Even though your child’s baby teeth are new, they are not invincible to tooth decay. Visible signs of tooth decay include pits or cracks, white spots, or brown staining. If you notice any of these signs, make an appointment with a pediatric dentist.

Even if you don’t notice any signs of tooth decay, once your child’s teeth start to grow in it is important that you start visiting a pediatric dentist on a regular basis. A pediatric dentist will monitor your child’s oral health and make sure their teeth are cavity-free.

Dr. Maggie Davis is an amazing experienced pediatric dentist located in Palm Harbor, Florida. Our dental staff will gladly answer any questions you may have about tooth and gum care or infant tooth decay. Call our dental office today to schedule an appointment with our kind, caring staff.  

Understanding Interceptive Orthodontics

September 21, 2017

While it is common to see braces and other orthodontic treatments on middle schoolers and teenagers, the use of braces and other types of interceptive orthodontics can be beneficial for children as young as five years old. Interceptive orthodontics, or phase one orthodontics is an exciting tool for pediatric dentists because it enables us to guide the development of a child’s jaw. This intervention can greatly improve the outcome of any orthodontic treatment the child may  need in the future.

How Can You Tell If Interceptive Orthodontics Will Be Necessary

Detecting if orthodontic treatment is right for your child is never easy. Often it is recommended to only start treatment after permanent teeth have erupted. This way the your child’s orthodontist can move teeth without worrying if another will grow in and stymie the success of the treatment. However if we discover that your child’s jaw is growing abnormally, we can attempt to correct this with interceptive orthodontics. Things your Palm Harbor Pediatric Dentist looks for when determining if phase one may be beneficial are: evidence that the newly emerging teeth may be positioned in a way that may cause them to make contact with other teeth resulting in chipping, cracking, or other damage and small, potentially crowded jaw development. If Dr. Maggie is worried that your child’s teeth may be at risk of one another or if the use of interceptive orthodontics may lessen the amount of comprehensive orthodontics they will need in the future, she will explain to you your options.

Explaining Interceptive Orthodontics

Interceptive orthodontics were created to help dentists and orthodontists better serve their adolescent patients. As children mature, their bones grow. This is not surprising, however the jaw development that takes place as primary teeth fall out and permanent teeth erupt is extremely fascinating. While as teeangers mature to adults their jaws a still growing which enables dentists and orthodontist to shift teeth and correct any natural malocclusions that may have developed. When children still have a mix of primary and permanent teeth, they can often determine the path jaw development will take. By treating a child early with spacers, expanders and even sets of braces, they have found that they can effectively guide the jaw into a healthy occlusion. This guidance can lessen the amount of time an orthodontist will need to adjust the permanent teeth in a traditional orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontists have found that early treatment of jaw abnormalities can produce stable and better results, greatly influence the amount of work that needs to be done as the child enters adolescence, and reduced the amount of potential damage done to teeth in comparison to traditional orthodontic treatment. Further having this work done gave the dentist great control of treatment and yielded greater patient involvement and satisfaction.

If you are curious if your child could benefit from interceptive orthodontics, give our Palm Harbor pediatric dentist a call today. Dr. Maggie can give you an accurate diagnosis and let you know if your child could benefit from phase one orthodontics.

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